Although the tax man has been vested with the task of collecting taxes on the incomes of the citizens, he has deemed certain kinds of incomes as "not included in total income". Thus if any earning that you receive which falls under these incomes you don't have to treat it as income or pay tax on it! Let's take a look at the different incomes that are not incomes!
Agricultural Income Any income which you receive as income from any agricultural activity is deemed as not included in total income. If your father is into agriculture and he gives you a part of the income as a gift, then you don't need to pay tax on it, provided, your father files his tax returns.
Income for being partner in a firm If you receive any income for being a partner of a firm which has already been assessed separately then the income need not be included in total income. Thus any share in the profits that you have in a firm according to the partnership deed is not taxable.
5000 Rupees An amount of Upto Rs 5000 which you receive for any reason other than as prize money and are not a recurring amount can be excluded from your total income. It seems to be a very small amount but sometimes this could be the difference between being in a higher slab or a lower slab.
Travel concession/assistance Any monies that you receive from your company for the purpose of travel to any place in India along with your family for the purpose of leave. The claim can be made two times in a bucket of 4 years. Family includes Wife and children and also parents, brothers or sisters if they are dependent on you. The only check being that you have to maintain original bills to prove travel if the IT department asks for it.
Retirement/Death gratuity Any payment received under a pension or death cum retirement gratuity scheme by an individual or his widow, children or dependents. The gratuity should not be more than the number of years in service multiplied by half months salary based on a ten month average. For example if the average salary for the previous ten months prior to receiving gratuity is 10000 and years in service is 15, then 15x5000=75000/- would be not included in total income.
Leave Salary Any cash amount received as compensation for earned leave which is en-cashed at the time of retirement. (This applies only to employees of Central/State government). For employees other than government employees, the Leave salary can be en-cashed up to a limit of ten months worth of earned leave. It also specifies that the entitlement to earned leave should not exceed 30 days for each year of service. For example if you have 76 days of earned leave and total years of service is 2 years, then, only the cash equivalent of 60 days of earned leave is not added to income.
Retrenchment/Voluntary retirement Retrenchment
Any compensation received by a workman due to the closure of his company or change in the management of the company if new terms are less favorable than what was previously applicable.
Any amount up to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh paid at the time of voluntary retirement in accordance with and scheme of voluntary retirement of the company. But, the company paying the VRS should have a framework for VRS as prescribed by the government.
Insurance/Provident Fund Life Insurance Policy
Any amount received as benefit from a life insurance policy including bonus payment is not included in total income. The only exception is the amounts paid as part of Key-man policies.
All payment which is received from a provident fund to which the PF act applies or any PF fund of the Government is not included in total income.
Any payment made from a superannuation fund on the death of the beneficiary or as a refund of contributions or if the employee becomes incapacitated before retirement.
Payment of Rent
Any allowance paid by an employer to an employee to meet expenditure actually incurred on the payment of rent for accommodation. But this is not allowed if the house is owned by the employee or he has not incurred the rental.
Income from government securities Any earnings from interest, premium on redemption or other payment on securities, bonds, annuity certificates, savings certificates and other instruments issued by the central government and also deposits taken by the central government.
In case of non-residents if the bond have come to us by virtue of being a nominee or survivor on the non-resident or if they have been gifted to us by a non-resident Indian who have purchased the instrument in foreign exchange and the principal and interest will not be taken out of India by the recipient of the gift, the amounts will not be added to income.
Scholarships for Education are not included in total Income.
Awards, Rewards/Relief funds Awards and Rewards
All payments receive in cash or kind as an award given by the Central or State Government or by a body recognised by the central government to give such awards will not be included in the total income.
Any amounts which are received by an individual as part of the Prime minister's national relief fund or the promotion of folk art fund or students fund or foundation for communal harmony will be treated as not included in income.
Conclusion Thus we see that although the tax man is mostly portrayed as a villain in many media, he has been liberal enough to give us the benefit of income tax free income from so many sources.
The above learnings can be applied to our personal lives in two ways.
1. Try to increase the income if any coming under any of the above heads.
2. Invest in any of the tax free avenues given above so that we may get the benefit of the investment as well as tax free income when it comes to our hands later on.